Our favorite chicken, our americauna, was killed the other night by a raccoon after we left the coop door open. We were heartbroken and felt stupid and careless. Kentucky was always the most curious of our three chickens, climbing on structures to see views and wandering into the kitchen to see what was cooking. She and our Rhode Island Red came all the way into the house the other day when the side door was open and while I was upstairs. I heard a weird clacking noise downstairs and came down to see them pecking at the cat food. When I tried to usher them out, they decided to head into the living room instead. There was some scratching and scurrying and fluttering of wings before they were captured and booted out the door.

Poor little Kentucky. She was a great chicken with delicious dark brown eggs. She was never broody, and she wasn't loud or domineering. We miss her.


10 list

A teaser of my wedding dress
I missed this post last week, and I almost missed it this week. But I honestly feel that taking the time to have gratitude for the things in my life at present is transforming me. To put it simply, I am happier. I am learning to be more compassionate and less controlling, more accepting of myself and those around me, less reactive to stressful situations, and more joyful. Every moment is a new moment and a clean slate. Every day is sacred.

Here are some things in my life that rock my socks!

1. Soak, a festival of fire, music, dancing, gifting, volunteerism, waterfalls, and rain (and much more!) that I went to with friends and learned to love my friends and self more and more.
2. Going to get my wedding dress yesterday and trying it on for the first time!!!
3. The life of Kentucky (more on this to come in a future post).
4. The fact that it's summer vaca and yesterday I forgot that it was Friday, the day I normally would post this!
5. Being able to sit with a delicious egg and spinach burrito and a cup of coffee while writing.
6. The beautiful, beautiful people in my life. This is really one of the great things about getting older, isn't it? We learn what kind of people we want to surround ourselves with, and our friends are our friends purely because we love each other and that's all we have to gain from each other, is the joy of love.
7. The smell of jasmine in bloom.
8. Hot showers.
9. The many many many beautiful moments that make up a wedding day, because a wedding is more than just that one day: it's shopping with friends, toasting with friends, crafting with friends, solitary musings over vows, choosing readings with your loved one, the shared excitement and joy at the life you've chosen, texting mom questions, texting sisters questions...So many moments shared with so many people, all special.
10. Geraniums blooming in pots on porches.

What are you grateful for? Happy weekend. xo.


nom nom!

I am entering the end of the second day of a three-day detox, something that I wanted to start the summer off with after a stressful year of school and then some end-of-the-year celebrating.

I have never done a detox before, and I have to say that this one is particularly gentle and simple, especially if you are already a fan of veggies and whole grains. It basically consists of whole grains and fruits and veggies, with no caffeine, dairy, alcohol, meat, or simple sugars. I have started the past two mornings with a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, for lunch yesterday I had quinoa salad, for dinner we ate brown rice with tons of awesome greens and veggies, for lunch today I had a large spinach salad, and for dinner, this amazing wheat berry salad. For more on my detox, go here.

Which brings me to the first ever "nom nom!" post! "Nom nom!" will focus on my discoveries about food that I suddenly feel everyone should know. What should you know? About wheat berries! What should you know about them? They are a whole grain, easy to prepare (if you have the time), and delicious. (Some of my readers have been eating them for ages, I'm sure; while others of you may be like me and have never tried them.) You can treat them like quinoa or couscous. In the salad above, I dressed them with olive oil, fig balsamic vinegar, lime juice, salt, pepper, cilantro, chopped mint, chopped arugula, cumin, coriander, and tarragon. Then I added everything delicious and wonderful that I could: celery, carrots, strawberries, avocado, spinach, purple cabbage, pea tendrils, red onion soaked in vinegar, garlic, and green onion.

Nom nom! So good!

Here's how to cook wheat berries: put 1 cup of wheat berries into 3 cups of boiling water for about 3 servings. Cook them on low heat for about 45-50 minutes (until soft and chewy), and then drain.

Enjoy! xo.



Bench outside of my neighbor's house

Happy Solstice!

Wishing you a wonderful and sacred longest day of the year. If you didn't stand on a hill, surprised by an amazing sunset in the midst of gathering clouds, then I hope you did something luscious to celebrate the start of summer. And if not, do something luscious soon.



10 list

Gratitude brings us closer to the present moment. We become more engaged and more awake when we fill our lives and hearts with gratitude. This is something worth striving for every day, every moment.

1. Iced tea made from loose-leaf darjeeling.
2. Sun-soaked morning.
3. Sun-soaked afternoon.
4. A kitty meowing for attention.
5. The first day of summer vacation.
6. The smell of incense.
7. A freshly cleaned house.
8. Life's synchronicities.
9. A morning bike ride.
10. Now.

Have a wonderful weekend. xo.


34 by 35: Routine vs. Ritual

Take the time to smell the roses.

It's the last week of school, which means in four days, I will be enjoying days that stretch out like blank canvases. That means sleeping in, lounging around, wandering aimlessly around my house staring at books and projects, trying to decide what to accomplish, then getting caught up in a project and forgetting to eat and then realizing that it's 3 pm and I haven't really accomplished a whole lot, nor have I eaten anything yet. Then getting stressed because I'm not being as healthy or as productive as I wanted to be! Ah! Sounds...awful.

If you're anything like me, you actually do better with some routine in your life (you also live in denial of this fact and love breaking out of routine because the word "routine" itself sounds confining and, well, boring). For example, you are more likely to make that dentist appointment, get those taxes done, or make that gift when you have a structured day (wake, work, come home, exercise, eat dinner, etc).

So this summer, I am going to create a summer morning ritual (a much better word than "routine") which will hopefully jump start my days into a positive productive motion that will enable me to enjoy my time in a healthy and accomplished way. I will start off each day de-stressing in a purposeful way.

Here's the plan, inspired by the ladies at the Maven Circle:

1. When I wake up, I'm going to drink water and eat a small breakfast like a green smoothie, bit of yogurt, a banana, or a piece of toast. I habitually don't drink enough water, and it makes such a huge difference in my energy level and skin when I do. So hydration first thing, as well as a small snack to give me a little boost through step 3.

2. I am then going to read for at least a half an hour. Anything I want. Blogs or novels or articles. Just read.

3. I will then exercise. This might mean a walk, a hike, a run, a bike ride, a bike ride to a yoga class, or a Pilates DVD. It might be 10 minutes of exercise or an hour, but every day I'm going to do something.

4. Shower, brush teeth, get dressed. Even if I plan on staying home all day, I will feel refreshed and ready for the day.

5. Meditate for at least 10 minutes.

6. Eat a real meal, maybe some eggs or a sandwich. Something yummy and fulfilling.

Then I will start my goals for the a day, be they wedding plans or working on projects around the house or even just going and sitting by the river because it's too hot to do much else. At least I'll have started my day off in a healthy way.

What rituals or routines do you try to maintain to keep you healthy and productive?

Here's an update on my list. I've made a few minor changes based on some realities.

34 by 35 list of goals.
Deadline: Jan. 15, 2013

1. Wedding favors, embroidery design, and labels. Started to some degree.
2. Handmade bridesmaid gifts. One done, one almost done, two designed.
3. Creative aspect for the ceremony that is true to us. Perhaps a poem? Started.
4. Be super organized and thus more ability to relax as people start to arrive to town: create a calendar and stay on schedule. Going to revisit this on Friday. A bit off schedule.
5. Help with handmade invites and create a way to display photos. Invites in the mail.
6. Enjoy every second of our wedding day.

7. Build an herb spiral. Done but not planted.
8. Build a pond.
9. Landscape around redbud and apple tree. Sheet mulched and in progress.
10. Strawberry (and borage?) patch
11. Prep garden for spring 2013 planting
12. Try vermicomposting (again).

13. Slaughter 1 chicken myself.
14. Get baby chickens.
15. Help build new coop in side yard.
16. Get ducks. I'm honestly not sure that this is a realistic goal for this year because of the prep work that needs to be done.

17. Go to beekeepers meetings
18. Learn more about TPH management
19. Get a colony for new Langstroth hive It's too late for this, but that's ok. We didn't force it. B. built a hive and we're ready for more bees when the time is right.

20. Get a new passport
21. Save money for Fiji
22. Go backpacking this summer

Physical health:
23. Run a 10k
24. Get bike fixed. Done.
25. Bike to yoga 1x per week-2x per month With the exception of when I was sick, I am being pretty good with both 25 and 26.
26. Run/bike/hike 12-25 miles per week

27. Renew teaching cert. Done
28. Clean kitchen top-to-toe
29. Paint trim inside house
30. Make bedroom and closet curtains
31. Sand, stain, paint, and make front porch look pretty.

32. Learn to knit and finish at least one project Develop embroidery work and keep designing and creating.
33. Read 10 books, including one on film.
34. Continue to develop identity and readership for blog. Ideas and lists are being made.


10 list

Sunflower by Liz Collins

What are you grateful for? Take a moment to reflect and be thankful. Happy weekend!

1. Sunflowers!
2. The creative people in my life.
3. The first cherries of the season.
4. Summer reading lists.
5. Crisp sunny mornings after a rainy night.
6. Cloudy days for sipping coffee and grading.
7. The approach of summer.
8. Streaks of light lingering in the sky well after 9 pm.
9. My talented and loving life partner.
10. Elephants.

Please feel free to comment with some of your own blessings in life. xo.


The Sunflower Project

Sunflowers represent the sun. They represent adoration, as they follow the sun's path across the day's sky. They are symbols and examples of the golden ration. They are a combination of beauty and utility. Bees love them. They are easy to grow and yet impressive. They are perfect for the permaculturalist because of their ability to provide shade, borders, beauty, seeds, oil, and food for the pollinators.

I love them.

In my dining room hangs the above photograph of a sunflower from my garden two years ago. Above it, a framed photograph from my mom of a field of sunflowers on a breezy Pennsylvania afternoon. On an adjacent wall hangs a close-up of two sunflowers with some baby's breath from a wedding bouquet, a photograph taken by my artistic friend Gary.

So I've dubbed our dining room the "Sunflower Room," and I'm asking for contributions. If you'd like to participate, I would love to have you mail or e-mail me your favorite sunflower photograph for me to frame and add to our Sunflower Room as a reminder of our community of friends, fellow bloggers, family, and so forth.

So if you'd like to contribute, please leave me a comment below. And thank you. 


10 list

"T" by Jacob Magraw.

While my American literature students read The Great Gatsby, I was again struck by the importance of gratitude in our lives. These characters are corrupt, hollow men and women. They follow the siren song of the American Dream, or live in spiritless boredom, destroying everything around them, once they have it. They have no gratitude, only desire. Only greed, hunger, and  the belief that they will be filled by something that will only continue to eat them.

Thus, with great gratitude, I present my list for this week:
1. This beautiful and inspiring garden of "T" by the Seattle artist Jacob Magraw. So lovely.
2. Beginning a morning ritual, even if it's just a few simple, slight changes to my morning routine.
3. Being a teacher.
4. Having the ability to surround myself with people who inspire me and push me to do better, be better.
5. A moonlit bike ride over the St. John's bridge.
6. My breath.
7. For you, reader.
8. Digging in the dirt, planting food and flowers.
9. Self-improvement and growth. I am a garden that I must tend.
10. Stories.


Johnny Appleseed: verb

This year, we are being very casual about our garden. We have a lot of landscaping that we want to do: add a back door off of the kitchen and onto a deck, where there will be a table, chairs, grill, and potted plants; move the chicken coop to the side yard and make a home for ducks as well, including building some sort of water-efficient pond that at least uses rain water and at best also utilizes some of the grey water from our house; getting rid of the grass in our front yard and adding flowering shrubs, edible plants, etc. to feed us and the bees, butterflies, birds and other beneficial little creatures.

So this year, one of our favorite words is "johnny appleseed," used as a verb, such as: "I johnny appleseeded cosmos in the front bed" or "I am going to johnny appleseed cucumber in the garden." Definition: throw seeds in a careless manner wherever you hope that that particular plant appears. So, I am curious about how stuff will turn out.

For one, apart from some cosmos, sunflower, bachelor buttons, and poppies, we haven't bought any seeds. They've been gifted to us or dug up from our old collection. Also, the sheet mulching of one of our gardens is still in progress. For months, since last November probably, I've been throwing newspaper out on that area and then covering it with used straw from the chicken coop. Thus the garden you see above. I made a pathway with cardboard, and planted kale and beans. Then I johnny appleseeded  cucumber and pumpkin seeds on the right. Brian has tomato starts going, and I have no idea what they are: probably all heirlooms left over from last year. Those are in his plastic hot house that he rigged up.

We also have a few pepper plants that will be in containers this year. Brian also built a few planter boxes along the back fence, and those have green beans, peas, and mesclun seeds. One is still empty. I might plant beets in there or stagger some green beans. I love fresh beans.

And of course, I'm staggering the planting of sunflowers, nasturtiums, and cosmos. And I could resist buying some lavender plants.
One of my sunflowers makes a small start to glory.
I'll be happy with whatever comes up as we continue landscaping and really transforming the yard into a sanctuary for a myriad of creatures, big and small, including ourselves. In the meanwhile, it will be fun to see what happens with what we've johnny appleseeded: Will the pumpkins thrive? Will the kale come up?

I have herbs, but for the most part, those are all living in containers until the back deck and door are built and we've designed an herb garden somewhere in sunlight and simultaneously as close the the kitchen door as possible. But currently, I've got thyme, Italian parsley, oregano, marjoram, chives (the blossoms of which are peppery, spicy, and delicious), and rosemary (which I did plant because it will grow into a large shrub).

Oh, and apologies to the late Mr. Appleseed.


Maybe Sometimes

"Maybe sometimes when we see others' ideas, we think, wow, that person is smart or so creative or whatever...when they may be thinking the same thing about you." --from my Aunt Sally.


the 10 list

This week gratitude comes a day late, at least in written form. That's because I have a four-day weekend and was busy sleeping in, browsing through vintage and antique shops in my neighborhood, grading at a local coffee shop, and enjoying food and companionship with friends yesterday. Today, a quiet day of planting strawberries, reading, and sewing.

Which leads me right into this week's 10 list:

1. Delicious eggs from home with home-grown greens and amazing toast with brie and vinaigrette with three amazing people who are artists and teachers, passionate about permaculture, spiritual leadership, and creativity.
2. Eating dinner with two people who are passionate about reading, surrounding ourselves with books and dreaming of all the great reading we're going to do this summer.
3. Discovering a book on my book shelf that I want to read but thought was lost.
4. Having a creative project turn out better than expected.
5. Cloudy Portland days: while I don't like them everyday, they are emblematic of this lovely piece of the world and I love them, sometimes.
6. The way Forest Park wraps around St. John's and reminds me so much of the Appalachian Mts. where I grew up.
7. That next week the St. John's farmer's market opens for the season! And it's only 4 blocks from my house!!!
8. My sweet friends who hosted a lovely wedding shower for me and helped me make flag pendants to decorate the wedding with.
9. Being able to write, plant, and create.
10. Today.

What are you grateful for? xo.


Gettin' Truthy: I Doubt It

"I doubt that camera in my face."
This post is part of Truthy Tuesdays, a new weekly over at the Maven Circle, where Jen and Jena work to empower women through encouraging them to trust their own ideas, voice, talents, etc. and guiding them to find the courage and confidence to live their dreams.

This week's topic is self-doubt: where it comes from and how to combat it. So I started thinking about what makes me feel SELF-DOUBT, that poison that tells us to STOP rather than GO. That voice that says, I CAN'T rather than I CAN.

I feel self-doubt when I compare myself to others. And I do this all the time!
I do this mostly at work, as an educator: I compare myself to other teachers. I see them thinking in ways that I don't. I see them interacting with students in ways that seem better than my interactions with students. I compare and then I doubt myself, and then the "enoughs" creep in: "I'm not smart enough; I'm not compassionate enough," etc. It's a poison fueled in part by job insecurity and in part by my own lack of confidence. This also happens with my blog. All the time.

I feel self-doubt in situations when praise is expected but not given.
Social networking is a good example--but not the only example. Sometimes sites like facebook unleash the sides to my personality that I loathe: my vanity and insecurity. The desire to be praised. The part of me that wants attention and validation. And when I'm not validated--or again, if I compare myself to how much attention others get vs. myself, I feel like I'm losing a popularity contest. I'm not as cool. Or worse, I'm not as loved.

I feel self-doubt when I create expectations for myself and then don't meet them.
For whatever reason. Is this the sign of a type A personality? Does it indicate that I ask too much of myself? Is this just NORMAL? We are a creative, industrious species. We love to learn and create. But shit, we also love to kick back with friends or with a good book or movie. So, there's the fine line: setting goals, having high expectations, and learning to forgive ourselves when it doesn't all get done.

I feel self-doubt often. Too often. When a student criticizes me. When a friend seems cold. When I look at my own work. When I compare myself to co-workers. Self-doubt seems to always be there, lurking on the sidelines, waiting to pounce. But I think that one way to fight it is to recognize its sources. I've been admitting to myself my issues with praise, and I am acknowledging those feelings when they crop up, but it's easier also to let them go once faced. I caught myself in the act of comparing myself to someone else, and I thought: She's awesome. And I'm wasting time. There are more productive things for me to be focusing my thoughts and energy on.

So maybe that's part of the process of doubting less and believing more: AWARENESS. I am aware of when I doubt, and I've already started to kill it in its tracks.


10 List

Of course, grateful for this little guy.
A lot of grading and a severe sinus infection have prevented me from posting much of late--or accomplishing much. But I am visualizing health and manifesting a wonderful weekend. It is Friday, the day I like to dedicate here to gratitude. Being grateful for the beauty in our world--consciously reminding ourselves, every day, of that beauty, helps inspire us to create more beauty.

And so here are 10 things on my list right now:

1. My cold is past the worst and I'm on my way back to golden health.
2. My cousin's hubby got accepted into Penn State for engineering.
3. This weekend is my local bridal shower with some of my best Portland girls!
4. Sunshine in Portland for 2 weeks straight!
5. That my friends have a brand new, healthy, beautiful baby girl.
6. Being industrious and getting my house cleaning out of the way first thing so that it's not hanging over my head all weekend. (Now I should sit and do some grading.)
7. Having an amazing yard with so much potential for ducks, chickens, bees, fruit, veggies, flowers, herbs.
8. Discovering the loveliness of the roses, irises, lillies, and columbine that have been planted here before we moved in.
9. Herb spirals.
10. Fresh eggs.

What are you grateful for in your life? xo.

Irises and columbine along one side of our house.


34 by 35: Evolving Goals and the Journey

I've been thinking a lot about goals. We tend to give ourselves a lot of grief if we do not accomplish our goals. But we forget that our goals change; there are a myriad of goals that I have created for myself since writing my 34 by 35 list. Many of these goals relate to my spiritual life, and ironically, much of my spiritual musings of late are about not becoming too attached to our goals. There are a few basic reasons for this:

-Focusing on the achievement of the goal is like focusing only on the last bite of a delicious bowl of gelato. Do I really want to learn to knit just so that I can have another scarf? No. I want to learn to knit for the challenge, the potential community of knitters/crafters, and the creative license it would give me. And yes, maybe for some cool scarfs, but that's only a small part of it.
Focus on the journey, not only the end point.

-Journeys can be rather dull if we follow the road given us. Sometimes we don't end up where we planned. Sometimes we decide, along the way, that we want to end up somewhere else. And that's okay. We go on journeys to learn and grow, and if we get too stuck on where we want to end up, we won't really grow, change, or learn.
Flexibility will lead to unexpected outcomes.

Does this mean that setting goals is a bad thing? Right now, my answer is no. I think that goals help brighten our path. Goals inspire us to pack our bags and go on that journey. And yeah, we might not get far or might get lost along the way, but at least we took the trip.

Meanwhile, I crossed off a few of my 34 by 35 that I did accomplish thus far.

34 by 35 list of goals.
Deadline: Jan. 15, 2013

1. Wedding favors, embroidery design, and labels.
2. Handmade bridesmaid gifts.
3. Creative aspect for the ceremony that is true to me. Perhaps a poem?
4. Be super organized and thus more ability to relax as people start to arrive to town: create a calendar and stay on schedule.
5. Help with handmade invites and create a way to display photos.
6. Enjoy every second of our wedding day.

7. Build an herb spiral.
8. Build a pond.
9. Landscape around redbud and apple tree.
10. Strawberry (and borage?) patch
11. Prep garden for spring 2013 planting
12. Try vermicomposting (again).

13. Slaughter 1 chicken myself.
14. Get baby chickens.
15. Help build new coop in side yard.
16. Get ducks.

17. Go to beekeepers meetings
18. Learn more about TPH management
19. Get a colony for new Langstroth hive

20. Get a new passport
21. Save money for Fiji
22. Go backpacking this summer

Physical health:
23. Run a 10k
24. Get bike fixed
25. Bike to yoga 1x per week-2x per month
26. Run/bike/hike 12-25 miles per week

27. Renew teaching cert.
28. Clean kitchen top-to-toe
29. Paint trim inside house
30. Make bedroom and closet curtains
31. Sand, stain, paint, and make front porch look pretty.

32. Learn to knit and finish at least one project
33. Read 10 books, including one on film.
34. Continue to develop identity and readership for blog


10 List

Gratitude is in part about recognizing that wherever we want to end up comes second to the present moment and the process or journey of achieving our dreams and goals. I have many goals. But often, when I achieve a goal, the sense of accomplishment is no more special or gratifying than the many steps I took and ways I learned and changed along that goal's path. And sometimes my goals change. And that's okay too: it doesn't mean that I failed. It means I grew and reflected and thought about where I really want to be and what truly makes me happy.

Here are ten things that I feel grateful for having in my life right now, as is.

1. Being reminded that the present moment is sacred.
2. A fantastic yoga class.
3. Being invited to join a book club to study the Yoga Sutras.
4. Having a really fun engagement photo shoot with my man.
5. That little Leno (Puddles the cat) seems to be feeling better and eating more.
6. Having found a really inspiring and wonderful poem that we can't wait to share on our wedding day.
7. Finding a craft that truly makes me feel joyful during the process: embroidery.
8. Irises in bloom.
9. My loved ones, both family and friends.
10. Gaining a stronger sense of the things that make me happy.

xo. Happy week ending and Cinco de Mayo.


Guitar Girl!

I finished another embroidery project today: this one was designed by Lucky Jackson. Check out her awesome blog 365 Lucky Days. You can buy this pattern and other great patterns here.

My next embroidery project is going to be one of my own design. In fact, I have it all set up and am ready to start embroidering; however, since it's part of the wedding plans, I won't be able to share it on my blog for a long long time.

I find that sewing patterns by other people is like tracing and teaching oneself to draw. Or reading writing by someone else in order to become a better writer. Hopefully, Jackson's pattern will help me a long in my next project.


The 10 List

A moment of gratitude to end the week. What small, almost-unnoticed or wonderful, monumental moments are you grateful for in your life?

1. The smell of cut grass.
2. The smell of spring rain.
3. Pink petals raining down from the trees.
4. Knowing that those who seem the happiest work hard for their happiness through focus on physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health (there's a comfort/inspiration in that fact).
5. Escaping from jury duty unscathed.
6. Food carts and bubble tea.
7. The blossoming of a new book club!
8. Being inspired by a friend who is an artist and full of light and energy.
9. Making handmade wedding invites and knowing that these are some of the most important invitations I'll ever make in my life!
10. Being able to listen when someone just needs to talk.



Super Girl!

Here is Super Girl! Isn't she adorable? She was a gift to my dear friend Jamie, who is having a little girl in late June. Her own little Super Girl.

This is not my design. It is from Imagine Gnats. You can buy this pattern from her shop on Etsy for $5 here.

So freakin' adorable I could poop! (How cute is that?!)

I want to make a little boy next for my same friend's soon-to-be-3 son. He will face the opposite direction and the two Super Heroes can hang out side-by-side.


How to make paper flag pendants

Today, I hosted a baby shower for a great friend of mine. My methods of decorating were as follows: paper flag pendants, house plants, annuals (that I can now plant in my containers and enjoy for the rest of their season).

For the pendants, you will need: adorable scrap-booking paper, scissors, twine/kitchen thread, mini hot glue gun, mini hot glue sticks.
Step 1: To save on paper, I simply cut the scrap-booking sheets into halves from corner to corner, creating four triangles.

Step 2: I assembled my twine, scissors and hot glue gun and hot glued the twin to the backs of the triangles, following as straight an edge as possible.

Step 3: I hung the pendants!!!!

This was super easy, and they're really cute. My friend and guest-of-honor loved them, and one guest said, "I wouldn't take them down."

I want some for my wedding, but I think that I will sew some fabric ones in case it's damp/raining.


10 list

another stressful week at work. 37 million dollars cut from the current budget for next school year. this after several years of consistent cuts. the result is the elimination of numerous teaching positions, including 12 positions at our school, or a 17% cut in teachers. I won't know if I have a job next year until July, maybe August.

so in these times of stress and anxiety, it's MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER to savor life and live fully and mindfully in the moment. because, what else can we do, right? we can be told that we need to worry and then worry. or we can accept grim realities as possibilities, nod at their existence, and then continue to love, laugh, learn, create, grow, and give.

so here are a mere 10 things that I want to share with you this week that I am grateful for.

1. Helping students dig through stacks of poetry and discover poems that they enjoy.
2. Fresh homemade bread, made from scratch by my sweetie.
3. Amazing vegetarian chili made from scratch by my sweetie.
4. Tulip season.
5. That tax season is over and that we got a refund! Whoo hoo!
6. Learning new embroidery stitches.
7. The beautiful dark pink cherry tree in bloom outside of my classroom window.
8. Having the house to ourselves for 10 days while our roommate visits his family. Love our roommate but it's nice to have the house to ourselves.
9. My amazing friend offered to throw me a bridal shower!
10. Our house. Seriously. Yesterday I was remembering last August when we first looked at the house and how you couldn't stand to be upstairs for longer than three or four inhales. The carpet and subfloor were saturated in dog piss. The walls were a putrid salmon color. We've worked hard this year, and now it might look like a bright Easter egg (because of my color choices), but it's our egg. And it's bright and clean and happy that we live there.

What are you grateful for in your life?


Clipping chickens wings

Or, why did the chickens cross the road?

So, the other day, on the way home from my run, what do I see, but three little chickens crossing the road. First goes the curious one. Then goes the old lady. Then goes little sister, who follows wherever the other two may go. And I decided, while cars stopped to let my chickens cross, that I was going  to clip their wings.

And we did.

I used to think that it was this painful operation that involved breaking the bones in their wings, but with a simple snip snip of some feathers, they lose their ability to fly over the fence or fly into your garden. For me, I find this the  more humane choice, because I can give them free reign in their area of the yard without worrying about them destroying my pea shoots or whatever other little tasty morsels might await in my garden. Let alone getting squashed by a car on their way over to the neighbor's greener grass.

Here's a great tutorial.

I can't find the hilarious tutorial. There's one out there where they show the chicken reacting, and while she certainly does not look like she's in pain, she does look a bit like someone just shat in her cereal. If you find it, please post it in the comments!


34 by 35

Here is my 34 by 35 list of goals.
Deadline: Jan. 15, 2013 (not even a whole year!)

1. Wedding favors, embroidery design, and labels.
2. Handmade bridesmaid gifts.
3. Creative aspect for the ceremony that is true to me. Perhaps a poem?
4. Be super organized and thus more ability to relax as people start to arrive to town: create a calendar and stay on schedule.
5. Help with handmade invites and create a way to display photos.
6. Enjoy every second of our wedding day.

7. Build an herb spiral.
8. Build a pond.
9. Landscape around redbud and apple tree.
10. Strawberry (and borage?) patch
11. Prep garden for spring 2013 planting
12. Try vermicomposting (again).

13. Slaughter 1 chicken myself.
14. Get baby chickens.
15. Help build new coop in side yard.
16. Get ducks.

17. Go to beekeepers meetings
18. Learn more about TPH management
19. Get a colony for new Langstroth hive

20. Get a new passport
21. Save money for Fiji
22. Go backpacking this summer

Physical health:
23. Run a 10k
24. Get bike fixed
25. Bike to yoga 1x per week-2x per month
26. Run/bike/hike 12-25 miles per week

27. Renew teaching cert.
28. Clean kitchen top-to-toe
29. Paint trim inside house
30. Make bedroom and closet curtains
31. Sand, stain, paint, and make front porch look pretty.

32. Learn to knit and finish at least one project
33. Read 10 books, including one on film.
34. Continue to develop identity and readership for blog

There they be. Next, look at the big list and see what you can make room for this week. Keep this list somewhere near you, where it will be visible, rather than letting it disappear like a list of resolutions that never materialize. Hang it on your fridge or place it in the journal where you write your to-do lists. As often as possible, try to connect your to-do list to these goals.

This week is a busy one:
1. Get ready for baby shower that I'm hosting on Saturday: grocery shop, organize activities, clean house, make quiche, finish gift.
2. Fill out reimbursement materials and fax to district
3. Finish taxes
4. Send transcript to TSPC to renew teaching cert. (goal 27)
5. Run 15 miles
6. Create a wedding schedule.


green smoothie challenge

For the past five days, I've been trying out green smoothies. Not only are they surprisingly delicious, they're really fun to drink in front of 14 and 16 year-old kids who totally freak out when they see what you're ingesting. "Ew! What is that!" One kids told me that my smoothie "looked like Satan." Nice.

You know you need to eat your greens. Spinach has lots of dietary fiber and is a good source of Niacin, Zinc, and Vitamins A, C, E, K, and so forth. You really can't taste the spinach if you make your smoothie right, not to mention the benefits from all of the other healthy fruits that are added. They're easy, quick, and a great spring breakfast.

Here are the recipes from my first 5 days.

day 1: "surprisingly yum"
2 handfuls of spinach
1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries
1/2 of a banana
a few pomegranate seeds

Refreshing and light, I could really taste the banana more than anything. Not very sweet, yet oddly sweet enough. I drank a small glass (about 6 oz) for a bedtime snack and then for my breakfast, I added:

aprox. 1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
the other 1/2 of the banana
1 tsp. of ground flax

This is my first purchase of almond milk, along with my first endeavor into green smoothies, and yum. Great breakfast.

day 2: "that can't be healthy"
2 1/2 cups of blueberries
1 banana
4 handfuls of spinach
1 1/2 cups almond milk
2 tsp. flax
around a dozen pomegranate seeds

Yum, delicious when fresh. Not quite as good when not fresh. Drink this one right away.

day 3: "Whoa, that's green!"
1 generous cup of pineapple chunks
2 bananas
2 generous handfuls of leafy green lettuce
2 cups of water

At first this one smelled like lettuce water. It tasted good, but I wanted more richness to it. So I put in another banana. After all, I'm making two servings. If you like bananas and pineapple, you'll love this recipe!

day 4: "almond milk makes all the difference"
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 1/2 cup almond milk (vanilla, unsweetened)
1/2 cup water
1 banana
2 handfuls of spinach

Really, I love these way better with some almond milk. They're delicious, they're creamier, they seem a bit sweeter, and they have calcium and vitamin D. This one might be my favorite of the week.

day 5: "the best even better"
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 ripe banana
2 cups almond milk
2 handfuls of spinach

This made yesterday's green smoothie even creamier, richer, and more delicious. If you want something refreshing and light, use lots of frozen fruits with water for almost an icy-like effect. But for a smoothie, go with almond milk. Plus, it's more filling that way


10 List

Our tulip magnolia in full glory
This week, with my freshmen, we read two of Pablo Neruda's "Odes," celebrations of the ordinary and wonderful. Beautiful, shining poems about enjoying the little things in life. Wonderful celebrations of gratitude.

Here are some of the things I would consider writing odes about:
1. That I got to speak to three out of four of my bridesmaids on the phone this week, even though they are all far far away. One called me from the Sea of Cortez!
2. Getting to spend quality time with a friend who I haven't been able to spend quality time with in way too long.
3. Pickled onions.
4. Sunshine! And a weekend forecast that promises more.
5. How my chickens run to me every time I go outside, asking for treats and some affection. They are such silly girls.
6. Being able to work from home today.
7. Seeing a bald eagle swoop over the river and into the forest while hiking near my house last week.
8. Spying on my fiance while he builds me a St. Johns-bridge-inspired archway/gate outside in the side yard (where the chickens, ducks, and duck pond will live someday).
9. Spring sunsets with clouds wreathing Forest Park.
10. Dandelions.
One of our bees enjoys a dandelion

Ode To an Artichoke by Pablo Neruda
The artichoke
of delicate heart
in its battle-dress, builds
its minimal cupola;
in its scallop of
Around it,
demoniac vegetables
bristle their thicknesses,
tendrils and belfries,
the bulb's agitations;
while under the subsoil
the carrot
sleeps sound in its
rusty mustaches.
Runner and filaments
bleach in the vineyards,
whereon rise the vines.
The sedulous cabbage
arranges its petticoats;
sweetens a world;
and the artichoke
dulcetly there in a gardenplot,
armed for a skirmish,
goes proud
in its pomegranate
Till, on a day,
each by the other,
the artichoke moves
to its dream
of a market place
in the big willow
a battle formation.
Most warlike
of defilades-
with men
in the market stalls,
white shirts
in the soup-greens,
artichoke field marshals,
close-order conclaves,
commands, detonations,
and voices,
a crashing of crate staves.

with her hamper
make trial
of an artichoke:
she reflects, she examines,
she candles them up to the light like an egg,
never flinching;
she bargains,
she tumbles her prize
in a market bag
among shoes and a
cabbage head,
a bottle
of vinegar; is back
in her kitchen.
The artichoke drowns in a pot.

So you have it:
a vegetable, armed,
a profession
(call it an artichoke)
whose end
is millennial.
We taste of that
dismembering scale after scale.
We eat of a halcyon paste:
it is green at the artichoke heart.


made from scratch: sweet potato tacos

What you need:
a large sweet potato
5 roma tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 shallot clove
3 green onions
as many garlic cloves as you can  handle
extra sharp cheddar
lemon zest
fresh squeezed lime juice
corn tortillas

What you do:
1. roast the sweet potato to delightful perfection (or if short on time, microwave it)
2. slice tomatoes, pepper, shallot, and green onions into chunks; peel garlic cloves. broil on low for 15 minutes, then on hi until just starting to blacken.
3. while broiling, chop olives (I used a can of black olives, minus the ones I ate) and cilantro (a healthy handful). douse with lime juice, a teaspoon of cumin, salt, and a teaspoon of lemon zest.
4. take broiled veggies out of oven and place into blender/food processor. puree.
5. taste everything. does it taste delightful? if not, add what you feel it needs: more cumin, more salt, more garlic, more spice.
6.grate a bit of cheese.
7. cut roasted potato in half and loosen from skin with a spoon. (I then drizzled some fig balsamic on it for shits and giggles.)
8. lightly brown tortillas in some oil. form into taco-esque shapes.
9. stuff with each ingredient to your heart's content.
10. garnish with pickled onions.

Each ingredient should taste wonderful separately. Imagine how it will taste when you're done.

This recipe was inspired by last week's episode of The Splendid Table on NPR. Since the recipe wasn't published, I just made up my own.

Much of my cooking of, passion for, and sharing of food is inspired by The Everlasting Meal. Buy a copy. It's an amazing book. Seriously, this meal could not have happened without these two sources. The book helped me catch The Splendid Table when the interviewee was speaking of a fridge-full of well-made condiments and his love of pickled onions, reminding me of the book.

Other delights from my kitchen of late: homemade cauliflower soup using left-over stack, pesto made from cauliflower cores and the stems of greens, and picked onions.


34 by 35

Sometimes you just need to play in the sun.
Goal setting is important. We all do it. I think some of us love making to-do lists. We love setting goals and challenges for ourselves. I keep several lists. One is rather large and daunting. It includes things that aren't so fun, like paying taxes, and then there are goals that are more creative, like planning the gifts for my bridesmaids.  I also often write a weekly breakdown that I've been publishing here, and that helps sift the larger goals into smaller, day-to-day goals. It helps me keep my eyes on what I really want to accomplish or focus my energies on. Then, I have my day-to-day to-do list. These are often based off of the larger goals: going to the craft store to buy supplies for invitations, running 3 miles to meet my weekly goal of 12, etc. And they're also based around general maintenance: cleaning the chicken coop, watering the plants, doing laundry, etc.

I really liked doing the 12 by 2012. It helped me stay focused and feel accomplished as I was able to check them off. Recently, I found this: a list of goals leading up to one's birthday. This seems like a great way to replicate the 12 by 2012, and I'd love it if a few of you joined me. You could comment on this blog by writing about some of your goals, some of your accomplishments, and some of your set-backs. These goals can be large and inspired, or they can be--and some of them should be, especially if you're older than, um, 10--smaller so that you're able to keep yourself motivated by making some strides forward by being able to check off the smaller goals and able to focus your energies more on the bigger goals.

So this week, I'm going to write my 34 goals (current age) by 35 (age I'll be--gulp!--on my next birthday). I am going to base goals around some of the following categories:
Academic/intellectual: brain exercise!
Physical health: feeding/loving the body
Community service
Creativity: feeding the soul

Don't forget, if the sun comes out for the first time in a long time, to run outside and play. Your goals will be there when you get back! This was the tune of my entire weekend.


how to roast an amazingly tender chicken

Yesterday, I roasted a chicken and the meat literally fell off of the bone when it was finished. Here's what I did:

You will need:
a local, organic, fresh chicken
some savory herbs and aromatics
some roastable veggies
a generous glass of wine
a few tablespoons of butter
freshly ground pepper
a roasting pan with a lid

Do this:
1. Rinse your chicken. And if you're feeling inclined, thank it for its life and its nourishment.
2. Put into its cavity the herbs and aromatics. Yesterday, I used a few sprigs of rosemary, two delightfully huge bay leaves, and an apple core.
3. Place the bird on the roasting rack.
4. Cut up the roasting veggies, including at least one onion and as many leeks as you can handle loving (3 is a good number) and place them around the bird. Seasonal veggies are optimal. Suggestions would be turnips, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, and squash.
5. Rub butter onto the birds breast. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Pour wine and a cup of water over the bird.
7. Roast covered at 375 for 50 minutes. Baste generously.
8. Turn the oven down to 300. Roast for an hour.
9. Turn the bird over. Stir the veggies. Baste.
10. Cook for another hour, basting occasionally and checking for doneness.

De-licious. With the leftovers, you can:
Boil the carcass for chicken broth.
Blend the roasted veggies with a touch of cream and thyme for soup.
Make sandwiches.
Eat gravy over biscuits and eggs.

Everyone says "yum" except the ladies!


10 List

This week, the 10 list may turn into the twenty list. Despite a head cold, that can make things seem a bit glum at 3 a.m., I have a lot to be grateful for this week:

*Going to Manzanita and Short Sands last weekend where the weather was sunny and spring-like.
*Putting on the wet-suit and body surfing, catching a few great rides into shore.
*Getting to stay in this house in Manzanita and savor this amazing view.
*Seeing whales feed about half a mile off-shore while we ate chowder at Mo's in Cannon Beach.
*Brian ordering parts to build a Langstroth beehive for me.
*Brian building a trench and adding drainage and a nice pebbled walkway around the sides of our house to protect our foundation.
*Brian taking me to pick out a wedding ring.
*Brian making me laugh until my sides hurt.
*Fresh spring eggs with marigold-colored yolks.
*Perfectly roasted beets with vinegar, salt, and olive oil.
*Starting spring break last week by working with students and teachers to make browned-bag lunches for the homeless.
*Spending five days sleeping in and then lounging around the house, working on craft and wedding projects or reading or cooking delicious savory meals.
*Tulip magnolia season.


Tend: how to keep those eggs clean

So, I've been thinking about eggs and how to keep them clean. Especially since my fiance and I got knocked down from a slightly undercooked frittata last August. Paranoia over eating our chickens' eggs, as well as an aversion to eggs in general, followed. I am over that now--although, still a bit shy of frittatas--, but I've done some thinking about whether tis better to clean eggs or not.

Some people bleach their eggs. Some people wash them in warm water. Some in cold. But the sources that I saw on keeping chickens and collecting eggs usually suggest that you do not wash the eggs. The shell has natural properties that help keep bacteria from seeping in and getting to the egg. If you wash the shell, you risk destroying that natural barrier and risk weakening the egg's defenses to stay fresh and bacteria-free. If you find an especially shitty egg that really needs a bath, wash it and eat it right away. Otherwise, here's what I suggest:

Keep the nest clean! My chickens roost above where they nest, so they make it messy rather quickly. While they like to keep the actual egg-laying area fairly clean, they are still rather dirty birdies. As often as possible (at least twice a week), rake the old straw or hay out of the nesting area and replace it entirely. Then, throughout the rest of the week, put a layer of clean straw on top of the older straw. This will help keep those eggs clean. You will be able to give the eggs a swipe with a dry paper towel or with your thumb nail, but otherwise, for the most part, they should be okay.

Also, and this might sound overly obvious, but if you can collect the eggs daily, you can keep them cleaner. Sometimes we miss a day. We go to work and then to class, get home late in the rain and dark, or we leave town for a night or two. Those eggs get dirty. So collecting eggs when they are fresh helps with cleanliness.

And remember, they won't be perfect. You should always make sure that they are cooked thoroughly. If you are really worried about it, you could wash them before you cook them, but I would advise that you do not wash them before you store them.


10 List

I am in the processing of finishing my first embroidery portrait. Not bad for my first attempt, although I feel that it falls far short of my grandmother's adorable charm in the photograph. The more I look at this photo at her, the more I am struck by how uniquely beautiful she was. The final step is to applique the piece to fabric and frame it, and I have a few prints in contention for the job. A lovely butterfly print left over from an apron that I made for my sister; a simple turquoise polka-dotted print; and a flower print with greens, browns, and turquoise. I think I really bit off a large challenge for this first attempt because of her smile. It's so unique and toothy, and I probably would have had an easier time if I'd chosen a photo with a closed-mouth smile.

Here's what I am grateful for this week.
1. Both of my grandmothers, Rita and Eva. Aren't those both beautiful names as well?
2. Spring break begins today!
3. Green, blue and purple signs of spring.
4. The amazing massage that my friend Dan gave me yesterday, during which I was able to enter a deep state of relaxation.
5. Creative projects!
6. Dreading going on a run and then having a wonderful run during which I can process stress and develop ideas.
7. Watching students grow.
8. The fact that my class is over!
9. Celebrating the end of my class at Dove ViVi! Yum! Deep dish cornbread pizza with amazing local sausage!
10. My chickens and their wonderful eggs. And if I'm not wrong, I think the creatures are becoming more affectionate. I swear they love getting petted and nuzzled when I go outside to visit them.

In addition to finishing my grandmother's portrait, my next project is this Luck Jackson pattern that I purchased from her shop. I've read that great writers will sometimes, in moments of writer's block or frustration, copy the writing of those who inspire them. They will type out poems or entire chapters, and doing so will help them learn the rhythm and cadence of other writers. Annie Dillard says in The Writing Life:

On break, I usually read Conrad Aiken's poetry aloud. It was pure sound unencumbered by sense. If I ever caught a poem's sense by accident, I could never use that poem again. I often read the Senlin poems, and "Sea Holly." Some days I read part of any poetry anthology's index of first lines. The parallels sounded strong and suggestive. They could set me off, perhaps.

This is one of the reasons I bought Lucky Jackson's pattern. Not only do I like it, but I feel that I can learn some techniques by copying and sewing from another's design. That's the hope. The pattern is smaller and more detailed than the portrait outline of my grandmother, so that alone will be a good challenge.


an ounce of action and a bundle of spring

Running is becoming less painful as more and more shades of pink and green appear and spring begins. Despite the cold rain and rainy cold and slush and snow and rain and clouds and wee bits of sun and clouds. Fractious weather, fractious season. But I surpassed my running goal this week, reaching 11 miles. So this week's goal is 12, if the weather is kind and willing.

Other goals for this wonderful week:
Finish my grandmother's embroidered portrait.
Complete my lame-ass PSU class! Hooray!
Build planter boxes for kitchen windows.
Choose a theme and create invites for baby shower for J.

I found this lovely blog by a Portland writer and artist. Her name is Alicia Paulson, and she said this about starting and maintaining her blog in an interview over at Feeling Stitchy. It really resonated with me:

I had been a writer all my life and had worked as a book editor -- but before I started blogging I hadn't written a word just for myself in over eight years. So blogging was, in a lot of ways, a return to a version of myself that I had lost along the way. In the moment, it was sort of a direct reaction to these feelings of barely controlled professional chaos I was experiencing: staying organized on the blog helped me re-organize my real life and work in real time, somehow. But in a much larger way it also allowed me to reconnect to an essential part of myself that I had kind of put behind me. I think my reasons for blogging are still exactly the same as they were in 2005. I'm still very selfish about it. I still maintain that it's just a place for me to do and say and show what I want. I still see it as a personal blog and a way of telling my own story to myself.

In many ways, I feel this way about my own blog, "telling my own story to myself" and helping me organize my life around the aspects that are meaningful: nurturing health, staying goal oriented, and being creative. And I used to write. I filled journals and comp books with stories, poems, character sketches, and diary entries, and blogging is a way to keep writing--personal, creative, expressive writing--in my life. This is why I value this space and am becoming more confident and more insistent that it is my true voice.
Can't wait to finish my class! I ordered a few books using my free month trial of Amazon prime, so they should be all on my porch by Thursday! They include a book on urban farming by Novella Carpenter and a guide on over 400 embroidery stitches.


Food for Thought

As I look at the canvas of my new yard and future garden, as I personally feel the reverberations of the global economic crisis, and as spring beckons, I am opening my eyes to those whose ideas inspire me to act, even if those actions are in my own backyard: converting my shed to a home for seedlings, chickens, and rabbits; creating a eco-friendly duck pond; using rain barrels and other irrigation methods to conserve water; making my way along the learning curve of beekeeping; and trying to make food that is colorful, healthy, local, and organic.

Here are some of the aids, inspirations, and politics behind these decisions.

The first and last are important TED speeches, and the middle one is a really beautiful 6-minute film.
Helena Norberg-Hodge speaks about localizing the economy on TED.
A beekeeper collects honey from an amazing rooftop garden in NYC.
Chimamanda Adichie speaks of the danger of the single story on TED.

Gaia's Garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway
The Essential Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter
Farm City by Novella Carpenter
An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler

What is inspiring you of late?


10 List

When your honey gets his pink slip for next year and when your job is also at risk, gratitude becomes more important than ever and more difficult to find, but then, in the details that are often overlooked, there is beauty.

1. a run through the late-winter rain
2. the smell of chocolate wafting from Moonstruck Chocolate Company
3. sunshine streaming through the blinds for just a moment
4. fried chicken-macaroni and cheese-collard green pizza
5. a cute new haircut
6. the smell of cherry blossoms
7. freshly sanded and stained hard-wood (old wood!) stairs
8. friends who say calming and kind words
9. being able to return those calming and kind words to a student or friend
10. the soothing power of creativity

When we are grateful for our own potential, our own talents, and our own gifts, it's possible to find peace and hope. Here's a meditation that focuses on gratitude and its power in our lives. Give it a try, especially if you're feeling particularly stressed.


"I'm a s-l-u-t"

Ok, I am rarely overtly political here, but I had to share this video. Unless you live under a rock, you've heard about Rush Limbaugh's Sandra Fluke comments--about how she's a slut and a prostitute who should put her sex tapes on the internet so that we can watch them since she wants us to pay her to have sex, etc. Of course this was a general attack on women, and as such, women are responding.

Here's one awesome response:

 And here's a rather interesting read about legislation that is being proposed around the country that reduces women's rights in terms of contraception and sexual health. It even mentions the possibility of a sex strike.

Liberals have also caught some heat for their choice of language. Bill Mahr defends himself and his use of the c-word on his show; he uses freedom of speech as one defense, and his second defense is the fact that he used the c-word against Sarah Palin, not against all women. It was not, he argues, a general criticism but a very pointed one. What are your thoughts? Is it sexist for a man to call any woman the c-word? Wouldn't he be crucified if he called a black man--even one that no one liked--the n-word? Are the two comparable? I think that because women and blacks have both been historically oppressed, they are somewhat comparable (although the history of the n-word is far more significant than the history of the c-word), and perhaps our pointed criticisms of people do not have to reference their race or gender. Name calling just seems like a rather crass way to make a point anyway.

Another interesting comment that he makes: Arizona legislatures want to make it legal for doctors to lie to women in order to prevent an abortion. WTF?! Does anyone know anything about this?


"an ounce of action...

...is worth a ton of theory." So said Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Here are some of the actions I've taken of late. First, the weekend:

-to fix my bike (or have someone fix it for me).---Not quite done yet.
-to clean my car--at least throw some of the shit away and clean my dashboard. --Yep. Not thoroughly, but I'd eat off the dashboard, which is saying a lot.
-run 5 miles--Yes!
-do one other workout (hike? bike? yoga? another run?)--Does ten minutes of pilates and stretching count?
-finish curtains,damnit! I just have to hem them, but ugh, hemming is such a drag. --Yes, done and hung!
-harvest bees' honey, but only if the weather cooperates (and it looks like it's supposed to rain, rain, rain.)--Rain, rain, rain, but I started getting prepped. Just have to pick up some supplies at the Home Depot.
-finish grading IB film reflections--Yes, done!
-catch up on sleep--Yes, except for last night...Daylight savings is a rough one.
-have friends over for potluck/movie/craft night tomorrow--Yes!
-read in bed--Not for long, but a wee bit.
-craft something--Yes!
-cook something--Made an amazing sweet potato curry with cinnamon and cardamom, shallots, green onions, cauliflower, rice, lemon juice, soy sauce, coconut milk, avacado, cilantro, and bean sprouts. Mmmm.
-pick up house (dust a bit, sweep a bit, straighten a bit)--Yes!

Not bad, not bad.

Here are this week's goals:

--Mail some cards out to some loved ones (hand made)
--run 8 miles.
--do stomach crunches every day.
--grade 5 lit. essays every day until they're done.
--help out a friend.
--continue crafting
--finish reading 2 books.
--Harvest honey (if possible. It looks to be cold and wet all week long)
--get bike fixed.

What are your goals for this week and beyond?


the 10 list and other goodies

A few moments of gratitude, reflection, inspiration, and goal setting are needed right now after an exhausting day. I helped facilitate two staff meetings today, which I find to be emotionally challenging. While I am comfortable standing up in front of students, I find it much more disconcerting to stand in front of colleagues. But it's over and the weekend has, as they say, landed.

Big things on the G-list this week! Here's what I am grateful for:

1. For starters, I think I can confirm that the tree in the back yard is indeed a tulip magnolia! I can see some of the upper buds turning pink and starting to bloom. This is one of my favorite trees in the spring time, which means that I now have a redbud, an apple, and a tulip magnolia! Hooray! Hoorah! Stay tuned for many photos, I am sure.
2. One of the miniature iris bulbs that I planted in January bloomed today! It seems crazy early for an iris to bloom, but there it was, beckoning me, as I walked from my car back inside this afternoon.
3. I have an entire weekend with very little planned (except for about 100 goals which I will write about momentarily).
4. That despite feeling like I was coming down with a cold, I did not get sick! Go garlic, cilantro, ginger, and elderberry extract!
5. Sun! Lots of wonderful sun this week!
6. That Brian spent an entire day working so hard on sanding our stairs, and he even started to stain them. So soon our stairs will be fixed up and looking new-old!
7. That we booked our caterer, and she's sweet and excited and really loves food and her job and our ideas about our wedding.
8. That spring break is only 2 weeks away.
9. That I got to go snow shoeing with my dear friend last weekend on Mt. Hood, and we got great exercise and had a blast together.
10. And I am grateful that there is so much love in my life.

What are you grateful for? I share this list, because by forcing myself to write it, I reflect on the positive aspects of my life, and I feel more at peace. I feel ten times more relaxed after having created that list than I did before I started it. It's almost a form of meditation.

And since I didn't write about my goals for this week, I want to share some projects and set some weekend goals for myself (some dull, some fun, some challenging):
-to fix my bike (or have someone fix it for me). "Can you do me a huge favor?"
-to clean my car--at least throw some of the shit away and clean my dashboard.
-run 5 miles
-do one other workout (hike? bike? yoga? another run?)
-finish curtains,damnit! I just have to hem them, but ugh, hemming is such a drag.
-harvest bees' honey, but only if the weather cooperates (and it looks like it's supposed to rain, rain, rain.)
-finish grading IB film reflections
-catch up on sleep
-have friends over for potluck/movie/craft night tomorrow
-read in bed
-craft something
-cook something
-pick up house (dust a bit, sweep a bit, straighten a bit)

Happy weekend!